My father awoke blind at age seven, casualty of a viral infection. With his sight restored six weeks later, lessons had been etched in his vision. When his children were born, he added names as rich as chocolate over cream: Joy, the eldest, was his Piggy; Laurene he called Boosie; Duckle Dunn he dubbed me.
Sometimes I thought we were as feeble as Chinese maidens, foot-bound to home, yet when he broke his ankle, he filled his days as my playmate, trimming paper dolls to please me. He didn’t intend to cripple, spent himself in ways my mother couldn’t imagine.
What later disabled his dreams, birthed his despair? Phone calls to beg orders for the oysters he peddled after his business failed? Brothers who betrayed by siphoning customers? How I learned to resent his failures: the overdue rent, unpaid bills. Only grief when he died could stir me to see.
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